Quite distinct from the abundant literature available on Mahatma Gandhi, this historical biography attempts to articulate the historiography of India’s freedom struggle of which Gandhi was undoubtedly the central figure. Relooking at key issues and themes that have been raised in the research conducted over the past few decades, this is an interpretative essay that seeks to contextualize Gandhi and his ideology of ahimsa and satyagraha.
Instead of focusing merely on Gandhi’s personal life, Prof Bidyut Chakrabarty also conceptualizes the evolution of his ideas in the context of anti-colonial nationalism. A nationalism of the Mahatma that for the first time in the history of the independence struggle reached every village and taluk of the state. A nationalism for a country and a society based on his principles of nai talim (new education) and sarvodaya (uplift of all). But was it the right path and ideology for a new and emerging nation?
Despite being Gandhi-centred, the biography is thus imbued with questions which it attempts to answer. Though a unique study of one of the most prominent personalities of the twentieth century, it addresses areas of human concerns, which will always remain universal in scope and content.
About the Author:
Bidyut Chakrabarty holds a doctorate from the London School of Economics and is now Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science and also the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Delhi. He has several publications and has lectured extensively in India and abroad.